Punda Malidadi

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Oktoberfest Beer Gardens in Quad

Well, I'm glad this year they got at least two things right. That is, unlike last year, they did not fuck up the German flag on their posters, and unlike last year, it is actually happening in September as it's supposed to be.

Not that I'll go, mind you. I assume the beer will still be terrible.

Monday, September 26, 2005

I Want My Kartoffelsalat!

Because I want to eat it with my Weisswurst and my Breze.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Search for Alberta Exhibitionists

Don't get too excited- the title is only one of the many very confusing ways how people seem to find my blog. Chris Chan has a rather nifty tracker he set up for me and it tells me all kinds of things.

For example, I would like to really stress that people seem to find my blog by searching for "Beautiful beautiful beautiful irresistible", and deemphasize the fact that others do so by searching for "harpy picture".

For some reason, someone from the University of Pennsylvania comes to my blog almost daily. The only connection I can make to the state of Pennsylvania is that my exboyfriend's sister's inlaws live there, and I do find it a bit weird that somebody who doesn't know me would read my blog regularly. I mean, it's really not all that exciting unless you know me and the people I write about. Then, of course, it is magnificent.

As for other news, my history professor voiced this brilliant pearl of wisdom into the eager and blank minds of malleable first-years today:

"So, what do marxist theorists really think, or progressive theorists, or even NDP people for that matter? I mean, you're going to get a good dose of that kind of thinking in the years to come at the university, so I might as well set this straight for you right now. They think that what's at the root of absolutely everything that is wrong in this world is capitalism, and if we did away with capitalism then we would all live happily ever after. Capitalism makes us greedy and want big SUVs, and if we all rode on bicycles like good little environmentalists then the world would be a better place."

Who gave tenure to this man? Or birth, for that matter?

Babil und Ich

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Crazy Happenings in Germany

1. A tornado was sighted in Bavaria. A tornado! In Bavaria at that. There aren't any natural disasters in Bavaria, especially not tornados. In fact, my mom almost freaked out when I told her that I lived in a city where there had been a tornado before. Alas, it developed over a lake, and stayed there, without causing any damage to property or human life. Good tornado!

2. The elections happened. Result: Confusion. The current Goverrnment is a coalition between the supposedly left of centre SPD(a preliminary 34.3% )who has a beautifully neoliberal approach to economics and dabbles in some left-wingism when it comes to things that won't cost them any money such as gay marriage, and the Green Party(a preliminary 8.1%). They both lost seats in comparison to the last election, and anyone who can add already knows that they have lost their majority.

Then, there is the FDP, who for all intents and purposes are liberals(small l liberal, as in the philosophical origin of the word). They gained 2.4 precentage points up to a preliminary 9,8%.

Then, we have our newly formed left party, who seems to not to be able to decide on its name quite yet, but has won a preliminary 8.7%.

And, of course, the CDU/CSU, also known as the Christian Democrats, or Christian Social Democrats in Bavaria. They lost 3.3% to a preliminary 35.2%. Although nominally the winners of the election, this is a devastating result for the CDU/CSU, as they have very little hope for a coalition. They meant to govern in conjunction with the FDP, but alas, they fall short nore than a full 5%.

Nobody really knows what will happen. The FDP has voted in a pre-election meeting not to be in a coalition with the greens. The Greens have openly stated that they won't be in a coalition with the CDU/CSU, and the chancellor Schroeder apparently stated in an interview that there is no chance in hell for a grand coalition(SPD/CDU/CSU).

What does my bleeding socialist heart hope for? SPD, Greens and the new left party...no, it's just too much to ask.

Friday, September 16, 2005

"You Just Caught Them From a Bad Angle."

Thursday, September 15, 2005

"Want to watch me butcher some facts and oversimplify world history to fit within my political bias? That would be $ 435 for you."

I am not happy with my history class as you might have guessed from the title of my post.

So he's a history professor and not an economics professor. Sure, I realize that. But why does he explain an economic concept at all if he gets the most basic fact about it wrong? Comparative advantage is not a hard concept. Pretty much the only way to get it wrong is to confuse it with absolute advantage. Which he did, and so do 130 other students now.

This is followed by a very confident complete mispronounciation and mistranslation of a German term, which he repeated several times, just in case somebody hadn't picked up this particular one of his mistakes yet.

Last but not least, he shook the solution for world poverty right out of the frayed sleeve of this tweed jacket: it's the tariffs' fault.

The tariffs! It's all so clear to me now.

Friday, September 09, 2005

I like the sound of lawnmowers in the distance

My Writing teacher seems really promising on the blogworthiness front, what with my low standards and all. As I strolled into class Tuesday morning at around 9:26 on my watch- which is a few minutes fast- I am greeted with a stern "You're late," which, of course, I counter with an equally stern: "No, I'm not. Your watch must be fast." The discussion goes back and forth a bit, kind of on an elementary school maturity level("You're late!" "No!" "Yes!" "No!" "Yes you are!" "No I'm not!"), and he eventually gives in and starts with class introductions. After that, we take a little coffee break, and as soon as he's out of the room, I said to the girl sitting next to me(who later turned out to be singer/songwriter Krista Hartman who is playing at Waynefest this weekend): "I don't know what he was on. I was perfectly on time." She looks at me and says: "This class starts at nine."

Well, what could I do? I went outside where my teacher had a smoke, and tried to convince him that I am in fact *not* schizophrenic, and that I was quite aware that it was 9:27- which in hindsight makes me more than 20 minutes late, even when calculating the fastness of my watch. Oh, first impressions.

Well, what have I learnt from this encounter? I have learnt that it is possible to win any argument, even against clear-cut and unambigous evidence to the contrary, as long as you are confident enough. And I sure was, believe you me.

Later, we played a little game where we all had to find ten endings each to the following sentences: I love/hate the taste of, the smell of, the feel of, the sight of etc. While I was rightfully apalled at the cliched answers most people came up with(strawberries and puppy dogs and shit), I found it quite amusing when someone said: "I hate the feel of rejection." First of all, it's funny becaue it's somewhere on a level with "I hate the feel of pain." Secondly, it's funny because my teacher countered that answer with "Boy, are you ever in the wrong class."

I can see a beautiful relationship emerging down the road. Just lay off the hippie games, ok?

Funny email subject line of the day: "Gabriel, I want the feet pictures"
Best laugh of the day: Look at the correction at the bottom right-hand corner in the current issue of the Gateway.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Scuba Diving

Who's going to learn to scuba dive with me? Classes are monday evenings from 5:45pm to 10pm, and it costs $160 for students. Anyone?

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Anecdote 1: About the Blue Man and the Economist

So, as I was boring myself out of my mind sitting on an uncomfortable barstool at the illustrous Edmonton International Airport(where "international" means "has 3 daily flights to the continental United States"), I saw a blue man. He was bald, had leathery skin, and sported a distinctly smurf-coloured complexion. "Oh my," I thought to myself, biting a piece off my fourth chocolate bar(KitKat Chunky, if any of you care) and washing it down with my 5th extra-large coffee that afternoon,"there is a reason my contact lenses are called 'monthlies' and not 'semesterlies'!" As I lifted the Cosmopolitan magazine I was reading up higher so I could sneak looks at him from behind it, I realized it had been expressly for situations like this that I had payed something like 17 dollars for an issue of the much more dignified-looking Economist. Nobody stares open-mouthedly at blue guys from behind the Economist.
Well, as it turned out, his face was tattooed blue in a tiny pattern, so that from afar, it had a solid bright blue appearance. Having solved the mystery with my briliant analytical skills, I soon resettled into my article entitled If Guys wrote Cosmo cover lines (my favourite ones: "Want to Know How to Look Hot Naked? Take Your Clothes Off!", "Leaving the Seat Up- 12 Secret Ways Guys Show They're Committed", and "Why Sex is as Good as an Apology". Tee hee. Tee hee hee).
Suddenly, somebody loud-whispers with all the charm of a life-boat losing air in the middle of a particularly shark-infested part of the Atlantic Ocean: "Oh, my, god. Have you SEEN HIM?!?"
Now, you have to know thatI am not one for the abuse of fonts, like, say, using 5 different fonts on your elections poster or something silly like that. But with that woman, you could hear the fonts.
She said,

" Have you SEEN HIM?!?"

Her eyes were bulging out of her head, her mouth was about 2 inches from my chin, and she had a simultaneously disgusted and expecting smile on her face. Oh, I know what she wanted. She wanted me to bend over conspirationally and say, with a smilarly amazed-disgusted expression on my face,

" I know! Can you believe it?! I can't BELIEVE it!!!!"

I gave her the polite/bored shrug-smile.

In conclusion: What an unclassy woman. I bet she would have thought nothing of gawking at him from behind the Cosmopolitan.

Anecdote 2: About the Cleaning Lady and the Mustache

There was a cleaning lady. She had a fabulously groomed fully-grown moustache. And I don't mean that she had a lot of hair on her upper lip. She had a black moustache. This was particularly astonishing as all the hair on her head was an almost white shade of grey. End of story.

Anecdote 3: About Whatever the Fuck it is that's Wrong with People in General

As I was officially employed as the International Centre Welcome Booth Attendant, and my duties consisted of helping all of the 2-15 students arriving daily to make their way from the Air Canada Gate to the baggage carousel to the sky shuttle departure, I of course did nothing for 6.5 out of the seven hours of my shift. My open and shameless display of booth-sitting and general uselessness led many people to believe that, despite the 20 square foot banner hanging above my head reading "University of Alberta- Welcome International Students!", I was the airport information. The real airport information was of course less than 20 feet away from me, and a stainless steel official-looking structure with computers and all, while my booth was a little wooden cart, but sure.Why not. I generally answered questions about the location of washrooms, currency exchanges, shy shuttle departures and bank machines out of sheer laziness, as "Over there!" and pointing is much faster than "This is not the airport information, and I am not here to answer such ridiculously mundane questions, unless of course you are foreign and a differential-fee paying student at that fine university of ours." But needless to say, there were also questions that started with "My friend is coming in with Westjet from White Horse, and..." At this point I generally interrupted the inquirer, and attempted to say a more polite version of the former, such as "I'm sorry, I don't actually know the answer to this question- I'm not from the airport, I'm from the university, but the airport information is right over there." Curiously enough, about a good half of all people started turning around and walking away the minute they heard "I'm sorry, I don't actually know,". Even though I was very obvioulsy mid-sentence, they either turned around on their heels, or backed away a few steps before doing so. None of them were deterred by the fact that I was still talking. Of course, I wasn't deterred by the fact that they were walking away either, as I kept on going while they were moving. After a few suckers like that, my patience wore thin. The next lady did the exact same spiel with me, but as she walked away(she was an immediately-turner-arounder), I said "Excuse me! Excuse me!" That second 'excuse me' was considerably louder than the first one, and people started looking. Do you think she stopped? No. Turmed around? No. Maybe at least looked over her shoulder to see what I wanted? Sure not. Instead, she gave me a dismissive wave backward with her hand while walking away. I'm only saying one thing: Consider yourself lucky that I took pity on your miserable existence. Somebody lesser than me would have, say, made you polish the lobby with your grubby T-Shirt and then wax all of the sky shuttles with your greasy hair.

It's just as well tomorrow's my last day, I figure.